I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but my 6-year-old daughter Miranda is somewhat of a challenge to raise. She is way too smart and super sweet, but also super stubborn. From what my mom says I was just like her as a child. If this is the case, I think I might be in serious trouble as she gets older!
When it comes to mornings though, Miranda takes after her dad. She does not like to be hurried if she didn’t wake up on her own, which in turn makes getting ready for school a constant battle. Jake and I have been talking to her a lot about self-control and how she can be strong enough to not freak out when there is something that she is not thrilled about doing. So far the progress I see is only in baby steps, but I think we are moving in the right direction.
Friday morning as Miranda was crying and I was brushing her hair, I seriously could hear my mom’s own voice when I found myself saying “no one can make you mad but you”. I then explained how she was able to choose how she could react to any situation and that it would be her choice and no one elses. My mom said that to me about 25 years ago. At that time all it did was make me more mad, but over the years it has stuck with me and I only recently really started heeding that advice.
I can say with a certainty, that things are going to be hard. Sometimes you are going to have to struggle. There will be times when someone says something that offends you. People are going to treat you poorly. You will be judged unfairly. Someone will take advantage of you…
But guess what? You don’t have to freak out. You don’t even have to be offended or snap back. You can go for a run. Scream into a pillow. Cry for a bit (or a few days). But get it all out. The quicker the better. Then, take a deep breath, say a long prayer, (and lots of little silent ones in your head) and then let it go. Forgive, move on and get over it. I know it stings, but you are or can be in control.
There is an amazing thing that happens when I don’t freak or lash out at whoever or whatever has wronged me. It’s called nothing. And nothing is a great thing when I think of the drama fest that always occurs when I do the opposite of the advice I just gave. I get so angry that I say things that I end up regretting later, or I let myself get so hurt that my family suffers by having to hang out with a moody mommy. That’s no good for anybody.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have stresses or issues just like everyone else, but if I keep myself in check and recover from setbacks quickly, I can focus on all the wonderful blessings I have received in my life. There is nothing more humbling than to think back on all the times where I have been loved, remembered, helped, thought of, and mostly forgiven despite all of my faults. That, to me, makes it much easier to want to do the same for someone else.
I hope I can teach this to all of my children so that if they are bullied, or teased or struggle with self-esteem that they will be strong enough to get themselves back to their “happy place”. Of course they are going to have struggles too, but I can’t stand to think of any of my kids in pain or unhappy so of course I’ll do whatever I can to guide them.
I know that they will only learn by mine and Jake’s example and that thought makes me want to try even harder for them. It also helps that they are old enough to understand the conversations that they overhear (both good and not so good). I am so far from perfect and many times I want to freak out right along with my kids and it’s all I can do to be calm and breathe and not scream back. I wish I could say that I never have, but let’s just say that I am learning right along with them…